Scrabster, Scotland, United Kingdom
Cliff-Top Hike to Hoborn Head
USDPrice between $0-$50
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Approximately 3 Hours
This delightful hike follows a scenic and contrasting route across part of the northernmost cliff-top area in the British Isles.
Walking from the pier at Scrabster, you'll take a path to reach the Hoburn Head Lighthouse built in 1862 by David Stevenson. This is one of many lighthouses built along the Pentland Firth by the Stevenson family -- famous engineers and ancestors to the writer Robert Louis Stevenson. This lighthouse no longer operates as it has been converted into a private home occupying what is inarguably a prime location. You'll come to a fairly steep, but short, gradient as the pathway climbs away from the sea level to the undulating ground across the cliff top.
Along the track and beyond the lighthouse, you will be surprised at how many wildflowers thrive in this exposed area. They include the endemic Scottish primrose, a tiny pinkish flower that grows only in the northern counties of Caithness and Sutherland, and the offshore Orkney Islands. You may also come across vetches, heathers and sea pinks -- some of which appear to grow out of pure rock. Continue across the grassy terrain towards the stunning cliffs composed of Devonian aged Old Red Sandstone -- a rock that is 380 million years old that has been sculpted by the sea into caves, geos and gloups (blowholes).
Don't miss the adjacent spectacular rock formations. During the summer months the cliffs are home to many seabirds, from guillemots to gulls. You may also see a puffin or two. Your guide will point out the Deils Brig (the Devil's Bridge) that spans one of the geos, and the extensive views from the headland across to Hoy -- the highest of the Orkney Islands.
The walk covers a distance of approximately 2½ - 3 miles and crosses exposed, rough ground with unfenced cliffs and blowholes. Wear sturdy walking shoes or boots, and warm layered clothing appropriate for the ever-changing Scottish weather.